This NL Central showdown between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals in a three-game weekend series at Busch Stadium starting this Friday night could have some major implications in the division title race with both teams closing in on Cincinnati for the outright lead.
Pittsburgh wraps-up a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies before heading to St. Louis. It is currently 39-35 on the year and just two games out of the lead in the division. The Pirates are a solid 23-13 at home this season but just 16-22 on the road. The total has gone ‘over’ in their last three games.
St. Louis’s five-game winning streak was snapped on Wednesday night in a 5-3 loss to Miami as a 124 road underdog. The Cardinals are now 40-36 on the year and also two games in back of the Reds. They are 23-20 on the road and just over .500 at home at 17-16. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of their last six games.
Friday, June 29
Kevin Correia vs. Adam Wainwright
Correia is just 3-6 on the year with a 4.03 ERA, but coming off a solid start against Detroit in which he gave-up two earned runs on six hits in six innings. The right-hander has given-up three or less earned runs in seven of his last nine starts. He is 2-3 against the Cardinals with a 3.86 ERA.
Wainwright has overcome a slow start to post a 3.02 ERA over his last eight starts and has yielded two or less earned runs in seven of his last 10 outings. Overall, the right-hander is 6-7 with an ERA of 4.32. Lifetime against the Pirates, he is 8-3 with a 4.79 ERA.
Saturday, June 30
Jeff Karstens vs. Lance Lynn
Karstens came off a two month stint on the DL and gave-up six earned runs on 11 hits in a loss to Philadelphia. He is now 0-2 in four previous starts this season with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. The right-hander is 1-2 against St. Louis with a 4.13 ERA.
Lynn is coming off a couple of brutal outings in which he allowed 11 earned runs on 18 hits in just 10 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander is still a solid 10-3 on the year with an ERA of 3.23 in 15 starts this season. He is 2-0 against Pittsburgh with a 2.30 ERA.
Sunday, July 1
Erik Bedard vs. Jake Westbrook
Bedard also got bounced around by the Phillies in his last starts; giving-up four earned runs on eight hits to get tagged with the loss. He is now just 4-8 this season with a 4.27 ERA. The left-hander has now given-up 12 earned runs in his last three starts. He is 1-1 against the Cardinals with an ERA of 3.00.
Westbrook is 6-6 on the year with a 3.77 ERA in 15 starts this season and comes into this matchup in excellent form. The right-hander has given-up a total of eight earned runs in his last four starts. He has had more than his share of troubles against the Pirates over his career with a 0-5 record and 5.06 ERA.
The Pirates are 11-3 in their last 14 games in the division and have won the first game in eight of their last 11 series. The total has gone ‘over’ in 19 of their last 26 road games.
The Cardinals are 6-15 in their last 21 games against a team with a winning record and 2-6 in the first game of their last eight series. The total has stayed ‘under’ in eight of their last nine home games.
Head-to-head, Pittsburgh is 2-6 in the last eight meetings and 5-14 in their last 19 games in St. Louis. The total has gone ‘over’ in the last four meetings at Busch Stadium.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.